Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
The falling of a tree in a forest is meaningless without God – how much more so the falling of a leaf? Without God, death is meaningless. And life, too, must therefore be meaningless.
In such a horrible world, teshuvah would not only be impossible, it would be unnecessary.
Blessedly, such a worldview is not a Jewish worldview. God Himself prompts His nation to remember that when “It shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessings and the curse, which I have set before you and you shall return unto the Lord your God, and you shall obey His voice.”
The Jewish worldview is not nihilistic. There are no meaningless events because God is always present. Meaning and faith are possible. We have transgressed and rebelled. We have been punished. But return is possible. Teshuvah is possible. Our national mourning has a purpose.
With teshuvah and transformation as our goals, how do we go forward in the shadow of Churban? Remembrance turns our thoughts to the past, which only highlights our pain and our terrible loss. Where is our consolation?
Where it has always been and always must be: in God.
Our first and deepest solace resides in the fact that God is. Further, we find meaning in understanding that, like us, God mourns. He too feels bereft of His glory, and He too recognizes that Churban means an obstacle to complete service and a diminution of His splendor on earth.
When we went into exile, He too went into exile - shechinta b’galuta. Every place Jews have been exiled, God is with them.
God grieves and mourns with His people. He proclaims that He is with His children in their distress, lacking and missing their company, having been banished from His table. Which speaks to the heart of teshuvah – man is not alone.
According the R. Hayim of Volozhin, the ultimate reason for man’s prayer is to plead for the removal of the pain and agony caused above when man suffers below. Teshuvah is deeply meaningful because it not only heals us, it heals God as well. For this reason, God refers to every victory and salvation attained by Israel when calling upon Him as “My salvation.”
Is there a clearer statement that Israel’s salvation is His as well? “He will call upon Me and I will answer him. I am with him in distress, I will release him and I will honor him. With long life, I will satisfy him, and I will show him My salvation.”
God is with Israel in her distress.
If you prick us, do we not bleed? Yes. But as we grieve and mourn as a nation, as a people, our wounds our healed, the hurt of our souls is salved, and redemption awaits us. Us. Not just you. Not just me. Us. Together.
Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran serves as OU Kosher’s vice president of communications and marketing. His “Sometimes You Are What You Wear” was recently republished.
About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory
Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.
Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”
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Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent
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Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”
If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?
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Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.
What defines kana’ut these days? Throwing rocks at passing cars on Shabbos? Burning an Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut?
One who may leave his wife an agunah is not included in the general rule that we may not imprison on Shabbos.
“Fulfill my requests for good, grant my request, be mindful of us for deliverance and compassion…remember us for a good, long life…give us bread to eat, clothes to wear…”
Too often, as parents and teachers, we think it means talking at our children, delivering to them good and worthy content that they should simply hear and assimilate into their minds and hearts.
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